PowerNet, who won the tour with Brad Evans in 2015, took out the 4.2km dash around Queens Park ensconcing their man Alex Heaney in yellow.
“It’s real cool. It’s something that I’m going to treasure for the rest of my life," Heaney said of pulling on the leader's jersey. "It might be the first of many, it might be the last one, I don’t know, so I’ll just take it.”
The Cambridge rider said his team looks strong ahead of tomorrow’s 170km opening stage from Invercargill to Lumsden.
“The plan is the same as everyone, to go out and win, to have fun and ride a good race. We are all even, we are all in the form of our lives.
"We’ve got a bit of everything - we’ve got a climber, we can go well in the sprints, we’ve got a good all-around team.”
WPC South-Joyride Apparel and Placemakers took the second and third steps on the podium. The team of defending champion James Piccoli, Kia Motors-Ascot Park Hotel finished just under 10 seconds down in fifth.